Katherine Liverani

twenty three lines for a twenty three year old girl

whoever loves this city, loves me
pools of melting ice at the corner
a face on a bus, passing
ghost face of a woman i loved
even my own reflection on a train
as we shoot out into the suburbs
whoever loves the possibilities of this city
loves me
twenty-three, carrying home white tulips
pale against dark sheets
and the lights of first avenue
whoever loves the impossible, loves this city
daring, gaudy, subdued, more than just streets
all stretching to the water
the earliest light on the places
where we first touched each other, and sighed
the arterial subways
that bring you to my door
it is more than just sprawl
more than locked doors and panes of glass
missed connections
or the will to live
whoever falls asleep in this city, falls in love


the rooftops of this city form cities

the rooftops of this city form cities
tall brown industries of chimneys and slate-colored tiles
from up here, we can see the glow of the corner deli
half hidden by the ledge
we can sit on the damp green felt
saying that from here the bridge looks like lit up pegs
on a chalkboard

or we can relax inside a subway car
elevated tracks slipping through neighborhoods
we wouldn’t know from the ground
up here, we can map out each building, each corner
where we have lived, or touched
we can say, this is what I found—or,
this is how our eyes met

there are these things I want:
to live underwater, to breathe
and to build a Walden in the middle of manhattan.
I want to live alone in a space with vast square footage
And light-years of sunlight
I want to say, and mean, that I don’t need anybody else
And I want you to call me from the street anyway
To come looking for me when I’m gone